By Hugh Heclo
Christianity, no longer faith typically, has been vital for American democracy. With this daring thesis, Hugh Heclo deals a wide ranging view of the way Christianity and democracy have formed each one other.
Heclo exhibits that amid deeply felt spiritual variations, a Protestant colonial society steadily confident itself of the really Christian purposes for, in addition to the enlightened political benefits of, spiritual liberty. by means of the mid-twentieth century, American democracy and Christianity seemed locked in a mutual embody. however it used to be a tricky union at risk of primary problem within the Sixties. regardless of the next upward push of the spiritual correct and glib speak of a conservative Republican theocracy, Heclo sees a longer-term, reciprocal estrangement among Christianity and American democracy.
Responding to his demanding argument, Mary Jo Bane, Michael Kazin, and Alan Wolfe criticize, qualify, and amend it. Heclo’s rejoinder indicates why either secularists and Christians may still fear a couple of coming rupture among the Christian and democratic faiths. the result's a full of life debate a couple of momentous pressure in American public existence.
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Additional info for Christianity and American Democracy (Alexis de Tocqueville Lectures on American Politics)
The fact that the thousand-year reign of Christ with his believers was already here was not a call to quietism (though some took it that way). As noted earlier, the people of the City of God were not meant to be indifferent to matters of righteousness and godly living in the city of man. The remaining period of human history called believers to a watchful, active “waiting” through lives that would bear witness to the world about the true meaning of human existence. In this sense America’s Puritan forebears stood four-square with the early Christians.
In most cases, those who resisted the democratizing impulse were defeated. In the long run, however, these defeats were made more bearable by the widespread commitment of all sides to the moral calculus and its underlying doctrine of religious liberty. Since Americans had reason to trust each other’s commitment to religious liberty, talk of a popular government with Christianbased morality could be seen as a unifying theme rather than the threat of a divisive sectarian agenda. Thus it came to be accepted that what mattered for a workable republic was a shared morality rather than the details of a shared theology.
Americans’ emerging commitment to religious liberty did not eliminate such tensions between faith and reason, but it did greatly help to diminish them. The entente cordiale between faith and reason was vastly facilitated by the fact that virtually all of the individuals regarded as opinion leaders in America were much more influenced by Scottish common-sense philosophy than by the extreme rationalist claims of the continental Enlightenment. The former was at least loosely Christian, while the latter was aggressively hostile to anything resembling traditional Christianity.
Christianity and American Democracy (Alexis de Tocqueville Lectures on American Politics) by Hugh Heclo